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Mt. Maculot - an open garbage site?

February 23-24, 2013 - together with my three friends, we had  an urgent overnight climb in Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas.  This mountain is famous to all mountaineers and even to piknikeers (as we call them) because of it's gorgeous surroundings.  

On the camp site, you have an access the full image of Taal Volcano which is the smallest active volcano in the country.  The fresh air that breezes on the camp site is really inviting for a party.

So here's my concern: just meters before reaching the camp site of this gorgeous mountain, I saw a small  area that fills with garbage.  It includes the garbage bags, plastic bags, brandy bottles, plastic wrappers, used wet tissues and other small particles, as a nature lover, it was actually a shocking part.

Cebu Historical Places

My 3rd Solo-Backpacking within 24 - Hours

February is the busiest start for my 2013, the whole month, I only spent two of my rest days in my apartment and a lot of it were spent in different places, that's how busy I am this month.  Take note, I am an ordinary human being, so my wallet, pen and spreadsheet were also busy for my budget.

Going to the Historical sites across the country is absolutely part of my blog.  I truly love those places that were properly preserved for the future generations.  I dedicate this post to every agencies that play a great role in preserving those historical artifacts.  I want to help them in promoting the historical wealth to the newest generations.  Many travelers want to promote the gorgeous and untouched places, but here in my blog, everything is important.

Walking along the Streets of Cebu

February 21-22, 2013 was my first Solo-Backpacking in Visayas.  It was a great experience because everything was my first time.  From the plane ride to Cebu City as my destination.  I did this Solo-Backpacking in this amazing city because I want to learn small things that I should know as backpacker.  Among other provinces, Cebu City is one of the places that is very friendly for Solo-Backpacker.  Since it was my first time, last year, when I got my 1-peso air fare in an Airline company, I already bought a map of this city.  I know I was too much excited for it, but I want to be 120% prepared - that's how I always do Solo-Backpacking.

My map was really helpful in every move that I did especially when the plane arrived in Mactan-Cebu International Airport.  After getting off the plane and I was waiting for the airport taxi, I was speaking to an airport maintenance.  He gave me an introduction about the history of the airport taxi and how many taxes are their in Cebu.  This kind guy gave me tips on how does the jeepney's of Cebu are categorized based on their routes.

Dampalitan Island | White Sand Near Manila

Dampalitan Island
 This article is a part of my event " Lamyerda sa Borawan. "  

Its name came from Dampalit or shoreline purslane in English (Sesuvium portulacastrum) which is a type of a perennial herb that grows in the coastal areas throughout the world, which is also visible in this Island.  According to the caretaker, they can actually create a sumptuous salad out of this herb.   This kind of dish was already published online and even on some TV shows. 

This island is rich in coconut trees, pine trees, mangroves and some shrubs which bears colorful flowers.  encircling the whole island is the shore with white sand beach covered with shells on the sea shore.  This island serves as the residence of Ate Mercy and her family.  They also created fish cages in the other side of the island that serves as their livelihood aside from boating packages.  The residents go fishing; catching crabs and shrimps; they also raise hogs at their backyard for future purposes.

Their children living in the islands were also studying, but they need to take a boat just to get on the main land then to the school.  While we were in the bus going back to Manila, we passed beside the gate of the school, and if I'll be going to measure how far it is, I really don't know.
Dampalitan Island
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Dampalitan Island
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The underwater creatures were really great in my eyes and camera, good thing I was able to buy this water proof camera.  The water level was really low, but then you still can view the colorful environment under the water.  If you are planning to visit the province of Quezon, and you are searching for an amazing island adventure, just contact me on how to get here.  Don't forget to bring your swimsuit, swimming cap and goggles so that you can enjoy the real beauty of nature.

Lamyerda sa Borawan

Borawan Island
This is the very first facebook event that I've solely created for us which is very successful.  Lamyerda is actually a Filipino word, or can be characterized as gay language which means getaway or escapade.  This event was only for my selected facebook friends, so not anyone have access. 
This event wasn't planned properly, because I created the event within two weeks before the plotted dates.  But since some of the invited can't do it with my dates and they forced me to do it on the February 3-4, 2013.   It was Sunday and Monday, in favor on the rest days of the majority, so I didn't have a choice but to say "okay.

So, the day was already fixed, but the problem was the number of the participants.  It was 6 more days before the event when some of the confirmed people cancelled due to some problems.  I was filling out the number of the passengers that the boat can accommodate, which is 8 people, this is for the cheaper boat rental.

Two days before the event, I contacted Acel - she's the one living in Dampalitan Island, which is the camp site.  I asked her about the charges and some other things needed in the island and she answered back.  So, that time, I computed all our possible expenses, but then again, I still don't have the exact number of the attendees.

A day before the event, when I've check the event on facebook, we were six confirmed, so we still need at least two to create the group of 8 members.  We sent e-mails and text messages to some of our members, but then they still don't have the favorable answers.  Since we are working in the same company, so we finalized our food menu and do again the computations.  Proposed budget was 1000 pesos, but then we still need put an extra amount in case of emergency.  Our Itinerary, food menu , what to bring and the expenses were being sent thru facebook and SMS so that everyone will be aware. 

In my case, since Friday and  Saturday were my rest days, I still had two days to prepare everything.  Thursday after shift, I went to Beth's house to borrow her cook set but then, it resulted into Brandy drinking session.  Friday, I cleaned my apartment and prepared my swimming attire.  Saturday, I washed my used clothes and visited my cousins in Quezon city, and then went home at 10PM.  I double checked my things in my backpack again and took sleep.  When I woke up at 3:30AM my journey just begun!

February 3, 2013, Sunday - I woke up because of the loud alarm I set before sleeping.  While stretching my arms, I stood up and prepared my breakfast: coffee and bread with butter.  I also prepared my shoes, shirt and short that I will be going to used.  Then, I fix the cook set, two loaves of bread inside my 60L backpack.  4:15AM I took a bath and do my morning routines.

5:38AM - while my backpack is on my back, I removed everything plugged in the power outlet and left my apartment.  I walked 200 meters going to the tricycle terminal and I occupied the whole trike because of my enormous bag.  It was only 5 minutes going to the main gate of our subdivision.  I then took a taxi going to the office beside Tiendesitas in Pasig City.

6:00AM - it was supposedly the meet up time, but then due to Al's  transpo issues, we waited for few more minutes.  By 6:40AM since we were finally complete, we took a tax and left the office going to Jac Liner Terminal in EDSA-Kamuning, time of Arrival was 6:58AM.  Upon arrival in the terminal, some of us bought bottled water and pika-pika foods.

7:05AM - the bus left the terminal, we were seven occupying the couch at end of the bus.  As usual, our voices penetrated the whole bus.  We talked about the  everything, from simple things up to the complicated things we encountered in our lives.  (bus fare: 218 pesos, travel time: 3-4 hours)  You need to get off the bus at Lucena Grand Terminal in Lucena City.

Lucena Grand Terminal
10:50AM - time of Arrival in Lucena Grand Terminal.  After we alight in the terminal, we went to the wash room first, it is just beside the arrival area.  Usage is five pesos.  Since, we were already comfortable, we went to Jolibee located in the other side of the terminal, to take our lunch an I spent 79 pesos for my lunch. 

After taking our lunch break, time to search for our next ride.  We need to take a vehicle going to Unisan, Quezon.  According to our research, we have options to take an ordinary mini-bus with 40 pesos fare or fx with 60 pesos fare ( they have the same route.)  Since we have a lot of money we chose fx, it's more convenient than the bus.  (FX departure: 11:42AM - Arrival in Marao: 12:35AM)  Just tell the driver to drop you off in Marao, Vista Playa Resort in Padre Burgos, Quezon.

When we get off the fx, my contact Acel  was already there and waiting for us.  When we already knew ourselves well, I removed my Merrell shoes first, then we took a boat going to Dampalitan Island.  The boat departure was 12:38PM and arrived at Dampalitan Island at around 12:55PM.  While on the boat, we saw the crystal clear water and the trees are encircling the shore with white sand.  We were astounded by everything we saw in the whole area.  The people are very fortunate to live here.

After getting off the boat, our bags were still on our back, we took photos first.  The sun shine was really hot and can damage our skin, but we don't care about it as long as we get more photos.  When we reached the cottage near the house of the caretaker, we were talking about the history of the island, who's the owner and the background information of that gorgeous island.

Dampalitan Island
Look at the picture on the left, that's my first photo taken after getting off the boat. After taking photos, we pitched our tent under the pine trees, just few meters from the shore.  When everything were settled already, time to take pictures again. 

Our group can't be completed without stories, so when all the angles in the area were being capture, we talked about the lives of the other people.  We've concluded some stories in the island.

2:00PM - we prepared our cook set and the rest of the utensils needed for cooking and put it on the improvised table just behind our tents.  We make sure that everything was close because there were cats in the area, and they eat everything they smell, not a good vibes. 

2:25PM - we went to the beach and swim.  We had photo shoots on the raft made up of bamboo while floating in the clear water.  The sun was really hot, but the water was really cold, so I don't know what to do.  While one the raft, I saw the small and colorful fish swim beside the raft. 

Dampalitan Island
3:00PM - when we saw Tatay Joe, the caretaker, we asked him if where is his fish pond.  He was dragging his white cattle going to the manger at the rear of his house.  We followed him going to the manger and we saw his huge  sow tied at the trunk of tree.  Then he also tied this cattle in the nearby tree, together with him, we walked on the narrow trail with banana plants on the side.  I am not sure if how many meters that was, but maybe it's 15 minutes walk until we saw this beautiful scene. photo on the right.  Want more photos taken in this island, click this link: TravellingCup at Dampalitan Island

It's really good to see that this island have mangrove plants and take note, they also plant mangrove seedlings for future purposes.  I easily recognized the clear sea water because of the stones on the sea bed, look at the picture above.  We actually tried to throw the hook to catch fish, but then unfortunately it wasn't successful.  But, Tatay Joe gave me the huge shrimp which he caught early in the morning.  Photo below shows how big it was.

hipon sa quezon
By 4:16PM - after the tiring walk in the whole island, we started to cook our food for dinner.  First, we had coffee break to energize ourselves, while doing it, the boys was creating a fire then the girls are chopping the onion and garlic.  Menu for Dinner: Plain rice, grilled pork liempo, salted egg garnished with fresh tomato and fried egg plant in vegetable oil.

Everyone was busy that time, each of us do have our own work.  We need to hurry up because the sun set is very important to us.

When we're done cooking all the food, we just put it on the cottage' table and then Jessa was the one who took care on it. Thanks to her!  And all of us were doing the photo shoot again with the sun set as the background.  The sky has an orange color while the other side was grayish.  The shoot was full of silhouette effect which took our few hours on that specific spot.  The sky shares its gorgeous color to the horizon and with the crystal waters, creating a romantic scene.

Wait, it was already dark when Janneth was still frying the eggplant.  When she's done with it, we begun to take our dinner.  Nobody was talking, everyone was busy, all of us were hungry so we didn't care each other.  I was standing while eating, I didn't recognized that we were in the cottage and there were benches that I can sit on.

foods in camping
6:34PM - dinner time, it's really true that if you are hungry, taste doesn't matter, although, the food for our dinner were really great.  Hello, we brought our own chef, so the taste was perfectly created for my discriminating taste.

After our dinner, we had a long rest, we keep some of the used utensils to give way for our drinking sessions.  We also gave some of the excess food to the family of the island caretaker. 

The cold wind was blowing our tired muscles.  It was really the most relaxing moment that day, given the fact that we were all full.  So, enough  with foods, let's talk about the highlight of the night - drinking session.  We were all sitting on the white sand along the shore of Dampalitan Island, with some pika-pika foods.  Gin and Red Wine are perfect that night, it was part of the plan.  We talked about everything, from a lot of funny personal questions up to serious questions.  Everybody was ready to answer every questions honestly.  I am really sorry, I can't upload the photos and questions being asked during the happiest moment of the night due to some privacy.

The night was also full of challenges, like the rain which drops for few moments then it will stop. Bonfire was also stopped because we were lacking of woods, we didn't go to the forest to get some.  So, just to settle to one place, we brought our things to the cottage and followed the same sitting position. I didn't recognized the time we entered our tents and took our sleep, but they said it was already 1AM. 

Dampalitan Island
 6:13AM - that was the time of my first photo captured on the shore.  The air was cold and fresh, I saw the stone appeared on the water surface, maybe because it was low tide.  photo on the right.

After the morning photo shoot, I went back to the camp site to help the group in cooking our breakfast.  We also had a long time talking with the children in the island.  On how they study despite of the travel challenges everyday.  We also asked them about some personal questions and they properly answered it.  We are actually having a vacation and at the same time conducting some documentary.

We spent more an hour to cook our breakfast.  Breakfast Menu: Rice, instant noodles, pork liempo, coffee, bread, corned tuna mixed with egg.  After the night sessions and took five hours of sleep, all of us were so energized.  Some would say: "don't talk when your mouth is full" but in our case that time, sorry, it was not properly followed.  We were all talking about everything we talked about last night, I think we just did some review.

The clock ticked so fast, when we woke up the place was still dark, but then while eating our breakfast, the sun shines brightly, and it was getting hotter and hotter.  Thanks to Jessa, she's the one who focused on cooking our meal.

While they were so busy for the preparation, I and Mon went to the part of the beach which appeared that night because of the low tide.  The ambiance of the beach was really good, the clear water was calm and the fish were dancing in the water like ballerinas.  So again, photo shoots to different angles. 8:11AM - we took our breakfast.

underwater digital camera
9:00AM - Swimming galore, after the sumptuous meal for our breakfast, it's the perfect time for water adventure.  We just keep our excess foods, this is to prevent the dogs from eating it.  We changed our outfit to our swimming attire.  I was wearing my swimming cap and goggles.  After this, we locked our tents and

We changed our outfit to our swimming attire.  I was wearing my swimming cap and goggles.  After this, we locked our tents and went to the beach.  This was my first time to use my underwater camera, the sea bed of Dampalitan Island was spectacular.  I was able to witness the gorgeous living things under the clam water, look at the photo taken using my Olympus Tough-320.  I also have story while doing my underwater shoot. The water level that time was above my knee, not too high for me, hello I stands 5'7", wearing my goggles, I was snorkeling and taking pictures under the water.  When I've reached the area in the photo above, honestly I was amazed by the scene.  I wasn't comfortable to see the grass in the water, I felt afraid because it seems that there were some creatures like snakes living in there that might bite me.

What I did was, I swum going to the surface of the water, because I thought it was so deep based on what I've saw under.  But when I've reached and surface and stretched my feet, hahaha, the measure of the water was still the same - below my waistline! I can't forget that moment!  The sea bed was really virgin, there are still many lives swimming under the water. We were so tired playing on the raft and the sun was really hot so we went back to our camp site and pack up for our Borawan Island escapade.

Borawan Island
10:00AM - we went to Borawan Island.  The whole travel time was within 15 minutes and we again saw the beauty of the whole Dampalitan Island.  The entrance fee for Borawan Island is 80 pesos, Student & Senior: 60 pesos, Cottage: (small - 700 large-850) Overnight additional 400, Tent Space: 200 , Comfort Rooms: 10, Shower Rooms: 20 are also available in the island.  Since we're the only group that time, Mang Cesar served as our tour guide and he explained the history of the island. 

I have friends visited this place last year, and they said that this island was really simple and with two old cottages beside the huge rocks, but today, the management converted this islet into a commercial resort.  By February, they will be going to open the store as preparation for 2013 summer.

3:25PM - we left the island because the sun was was really hot and I think it damages our skin.  The whole Borawan trip was 100 pesos (entrance and comfort room usage.)  When we got off the boat in Dampalitan, we easily went to our stored food at the cottage.  We were all hungry, we emptied the containers with rice, liempo, tuna with egg and bread. 

After eating, time to pack up our things.  We first washed the things that we've used in eating and cooking.  Then followed by folding our tents and putting our personal belongings into our backpacks.  Then we took a bath, cleaned ourselves and preparing for another journey.  By 2PM, we were already done with everything, but then the sun was still hot, so we decided to take a rest in the cottage, while waiting for Mang Joe, he has a lambanog drinking sessions with his friends. 

I was able to taste the pride of Quezon which is the Lambanog.  The taste and smell of it has a similarity to commercial brandy.  They also added chico as flavor to that native wine came from coconut.  They also served crab and coconut juice.  They were seven and they had a good time talking about something we don't know.  When the sun was already covered thick clouds and since the bottle of lambanog was already empty, we decided to pack up and get on the boat.

3:30PM - we reached the highway and took an ordinary bus going to Lucena Bus Terminal (Travel time: within 1 hour, Bus Fare: 35 pesos, Arrival Time: 5:15PM..)  While occupying the end part of the bus, I saw different people, some were professional and some were the simple ones.  I can't forget the child selling ice candy in the bus, he accidentally dropped the ice box so, the ice candies fell and scattered in the floor, then he picked up all of it then get off the bus.  Maybe that was his most embarrassing moment.

After getting off the bus, we went to comfort room then paid 5 pesos for the usage.  When all of us were done, we asked guards if what is the best and fastest way to go in SM Lucena - for our dinner.  The said that we can take the jeep or tricycle.  The fastest way is tricycle, because their route is different from the jeepneys.  (Travel Time: 15-20 minutes, Trike Fare: 25 pesos.)  When we've reached SM Lucena, our first destination was the ATM, we need more money for our dinner.  Then, we strolled in every floor and corners of that mall, because we were trying to find out if where is the food court located, but there's none, so we went back to the fast food stalls on the ground floor.
6:00PM - we finally took our dinner at KFC.  I ordered 1 pc. chicken with rice and coke.  We occupied almost the whole area on the left side because our bags were also sitting.  While the other customers were staring on us, we don't care about it, all we just want was to eat!  After eating, we did some personal stuff like going to the wash room, applied make up or powder, etc.  Then when were done, we took again the tricycle in the mall terminal, then paid 20 pesos only, the same travel time.

6:52PM - we took an air conditioned bus going to Ortigas, sadly no WiFi, but that's fine with us.  The whole journey that day was forgotten for few hours, all of  us were sleeping the whole trip.  We were so tired!  The whole travel time was 3-4 hours from Lucena Grand Terminal to Ortigas.  And that's the end of our amazing adventure.

Wait, when I reached my apartment at around 12 midnight, then opened my facebook, Jessa was the first one who uploaded the photos and I was being tagged 6 mins ago, imagine that.  Thank you guys so much for reading my travel diary, please wait for more stories. For more information and contact number of the caretaker of Dampalitan Island, please LIKE then PM www.facebook.com/travellingcup.

My Unique CR Experience

 Based on my photos in my blog, you can easily think on what personality I have, I am right?  In travelling, gender doesn't matter, at all!  As long as you are willing to accept a broader horizon and you are willing to learn new things, then you can be a traveler.

In my trips, even yours, before leaving a drop-off/jump-off/port/airports, we make sure that we are comfortable during the whole trip, so what do we usually do?  We always go to comfort room to do all our personal necessities.  Comfort room is one of the best place to find peace and calm - well that will depend on the CR your in.

Anyways, let's go back to my story; I was going back to Odiongan, Romblon (my hometown) to attend an important reunion.  I always take a bus from Ortigas going to Batangas Port then a ship going to Odiongan Port.  In Batangas Port, there are certain parts in which the buses can drop off all the passengers (in short open terminal) going to Port Terminals.

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